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Saunders: Lemieux is weak in the mind

By Tim Royner: Billy Joe Saunders has seen many the past fights of David Lemieux, and his conclusion is he’s mentally weak and very beatable. Saunders (25-0, 12 KOs) will be defending his WBO middleweight title this Saturday against the former IBF 160lb. champion Lemieux 38-3, 33 KOs) on HBO World Championship Boxing at Place Bell in Laval, Quebec, Canada.

In terms of the tough fights of Saunders’ career, Lemieux is one of the 3 toughest guys that he’ll have faced. Up until now, Saunders hardest fights have come against Chris Eubank Jr. and Andy Lee. Saunders beat both of those guys by narrow decisions. Those fights came during the best years of Saunders’ career before he started showing signs of fading as a fighter. Saunders hasn’t looked anywhere near as good in his last 2 fights against Artur Akavov and Willie Monroe Jr.

Saunders has shown stamina problems that could hurt him on Saturday night when he faces Lemieux in Canada. Lemieux is not an opponent that Saunders can afford to get tired against even for a second, because he can get hurt inside there. If Saunders switched off for even an instant against Lemieux, it could be over with. He’ll be unconscious from one of Lemieux’s big left hooks or right hands.

“I’ve seen David’s absolute best performance against Gennady Golovkin. I think David is very weak in the mind,” said Saunders in talking about Lemieux. “I’m quite happy to know I’m under his skin because, if he wants to play a boxing match, then bring a blindfold, and I’ll put it on, and I’ll beat him. That’s how confident I am,” said Saunders.

Saunders is obviously kidding in describing Lemieux’s fight with Gennady Golovkin as his best one. That was one of the worst performances of Lemieux’s career in that fight with GGG in 2015. Lemieux was knocked out in the 8th round in that one-sided match. The only thing that you can point to that would suggest that Lemieux is weak in the mind was his failure to take a risk in the loss to Golovkin by attacking him the way he needed to for him to have a chance to win the fight.

Lemieux fought like he was afraid of Golovkin. Lemieux never tried to get close enough to land his big power shots. He let Golovkin control the fight using his jab and not his power shots. In Lemieux’s other 2 losses against Joachim Alcine and Marco Antonio Rubio, he gassed out in both of those contests, and lost the fights for that reason. Those weren’t losses due to Lemieux being mentally weak. It was a case of Lemieux not having the stamina needed for him to beat those fighters.

Saunders isn’t worried at all about Lemieux’s punching power. He feels that he’s only knocked out what he calls bums during his career.

“Against bums, yeah, knocking out old men, but he got stuck against [Marco Antonio] Rubio. He’s a tough man with power. He lost his next and then fought bums all the way up until Golovkin,” said Saunders.

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